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The latest news and views from Gladstone's Library.

Gladstone, two books and a film for Christmas

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 20th December 2018 | 0 Comments

This is my Christmas…I was going to say ‘letter’, but I guess it is more of a homily. Hey-ho!  I don’t get to preach often these days but this is what I feel 'compelled' to write. My text, if you can call it that, comes from Naomi Alderman, now a much lauded and fully established novelist, who was our first Writer in Residence in 2012.


De-accessioning in Stephen Gladstone Hall

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 11th December 2018 | 0 Comments

Gladstone’s Library is embarking on a 24-month deaccessioning project on a section of its collections. This is the first review of the Library’s collections since 2008-10. Collection use and user demographic has changed rapidly in the past five years and the Library now has collection use data which can help it make decisions.


The perfect winter getaway...

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 04th December 2018 | 0 Comments

As winter is well underway and Christmas is just around the corner, you might be considering a last-minute winter getaway. You might be looking for a destination that boasts a warm and cosy atmosphere, with a log fire, tranquil surroundings and a suitably festive ambiance; a place where you can curl up in an armchair with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate (or mulled wine!), after a brisk winter’s walk in the countryside.


Do your bit in a Christmas knit!

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 03rd December 2018 | 0 Comments

On Friday, 14th December the Gladstone’s Library team, along with thousands of people up and down the country, will start their day by pulling on a Christmas jumper for a great cause.


NOT researching in Gladstone’s Library...

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 26th November 2018 | 0 Comments

You know that moment, when you really should be hard at work. When you really should be reading your way through a particularly dense chapter that is connected to the subject of your next book, with loads of footnotes and references which you have to laboriously work your way through, holding down the page number, consulting the back of the (heavy) book, with the name of the author, the publisher, the date of publication, and let’s face it, all the boring information you need. And your neck begins to ache, and you think you really must stretch your legs, at least stand up and take a turn along the shelves where the grass suddenly seems greener, and the books seem far more glamorous and fascinating. And so you do...


Give the gift of Friendship this Christmas

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 19th November 2018 | 0 Comments

Introduce a Friend to the Gladstone’s Library family this Christmas and know that you are giving a gift which will make a difference and which will not sit, unused, on the shelf.



John Douglas – the man behind Gladstone’s Library

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 26th October 2018 | 0 Comments

Do you know the man behind the building of Gladstone’s Library? Possibly not. His name is John Douglas and he designed, during his life, more than 500 buildings. One of them was St Deiniol's Library, today known as Gladstone’s Library.


Tales of Wonder and timeless tales of horror...

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 18th October 2018 | 0 Comments

The month of Halloween is in full flow; the nights draw closer, the mornings mistier, and that black cat at the end of the street grows ever more ominous each time you pass. So, as every fancy dress lover’s favourite day of the year looms over us like a pumpkin-shaped apparition, there has never been a more appropriate time to look into the spookier side of our collections here at Gladstone’s Library…



Edrychiad i fewn yr gasgliad Cymraeg / Looking into our Welsh collection

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 25th September 2018 | 0 Comments

Although not Welsh himself, in 1894 William Ewart Gladstone decided to found his library across the Welsh border for good reason. The beautiful, remote countryside of Hawarden village, as well as nearby historic areas such as Ruthin and Mold, are steeped in culture and Welsh heritage. With an abundance of hills, forests and, of course, castles, as well as the mountain range of Snowdonia, Gladstone envisaged that rather than the congested streets of London, Liverpool or Manchester, North Wales would serve as the perfectly serene backdrop for his incredible legacy as well as provide the necessary air of tranquillity for study and contemplation.







Gladfest is looking for volunteers!

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 10th August 2018 | 0 Comments

Gladstone’s Library has a thriving volunteer programme. Volunteers work in the Reading Rooms, help give tours, and tend to the gardens. Volunteers help us extend our team and broaden our skills.



Gladfest interview: Miranda Kaufmann

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 01st August 2018 | 0 Comments

Miranda Kaufmann is the author of Black Tudors: The Untold Story, and one of the wonderful guests joining us for Gladfest 2018. With just a month to go until the festival, we caught up with Miranda to find out what to expect from her new work, as well as glimpses into her writing life.


Gladfest interview: Joanna Cannon

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 17th July 2018 | 0 Comments

In the run-up to Gladfest 2018, we caught up with author Joanna Cannon to discuss her latest book Three Things About Elsie as well as her favourite reading memories and top tips for thriving in the world of publishing!



A Gladstone’s mystery: solved

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 06th July 2018 | 0 Comments

Have you ever wondered what the above symbol is? We use it everywhere - on our website, on our social media, our merchandise, even our business cards – it has, in time, become the symbol for Gladstone’s Library. But what exactly is it a symbol for? Where does it come from and what does it mean?


Rev Malcolm MacColl and ‘the noblest man whom I ever knew’

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 05th July 2018 | 0 Comments

We, the team at Gladstone’s Library, often come across little things in the library and archives that offer intrigue; especially since some of us are still new here! The library is over 100 years old so there are bound to be secrets to explore! One such occasion, for me, was the inscription in the Theology Room (one of our Reading Rooms), and the declaration of ‘undying affection’ for our founder, William Ewart Gladstone...



    Join us for Picnic Day on Tuesday, 3rd July!

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 21st June 2018 | 0 Comments

    We love picnics - who doesn’t? It’s an absolutely inarguable fact that sandwiches taste better when eaten outside in the sunshine. The same goes, funnily enough, for quiche, salad, salmon, baked potatoes and cold meats. Which, by an incredible coincidence, are the exact foods that will be on offer at Picnic Day at Gladstone’s Library on Tuesday, 3rd July!


    Living Heritage Project shortlisted proposals revealed

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 21st June 2018 | 0 Comments

    Gladstone's Library and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is pleased to announce the four practices shortlisted to design a prestigious new building and re-develop the existing Grade I listed library and landscape.




    Polly Atkin on her February at Gladstone’s Library

    by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 13th June 2018 | 0 Comments

    Sitting with my feet in a river in rich yellow sun on a June evening, it’s hard to think of February with any clarity. Looking towards the summer solstice after six weeks of (almost) unremittingly fine weather, the library and my wintery sojourn there seems very far away, almost implausible. 


    Gray’s Anatomy: the alien world of the human body

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 08th June 2018 | 0 Comments

    Upon hearing the phrase Gray’s Anatomy, images may come to mind of the popular American TV series set in a Seattle hospital; however a much different medium bears the origin of this name. Within William Gladstone's own collection there exists a 3rd edition copy of Gray’s Anatomy. Not as some might suspect, a novelised version of the TV series, but rather a complete 'descriptive and surgical' look at anatomy.



    William Ewart Gladstone: From birth to death

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 18th May 2018 | 0 Comments

    19th May 2018, marks the 120th anniversary of William Ewart Gladstone’s death. The use of the word ‘anniversary’ may seem too jolly for such a sombre event; William Gladstone’s life was extraordinary and in this post we shall celebrate it and the man behind the podium.



    Cal Flyn: Bilberry Woods / May

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 18th May 2018 | 0 Comments

    Over a long day confined to a desk a mind can wander great distances. But bodies need exercise too. To this end, every evening before dinner – or sometimes after – I’ve been stepping into the dappled light for a walk or a jog through the Bilberry Woods, on the edge of the Hawarden Estate.


    ReaderPLUS – protecting Gladstone’s users for the future

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 15th May 2018 | 0 Comments

    If you’ve visited Gladstone's Library recently, you might have noticed a change in the front corridor: new Reader Application forms! These grass-green beauties – very appropriate for spring – replace the well-known A4 Reader Form that every Reader will have completed at one time or another.


    The Irish answer

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 01st May 2018 | 0 Comments

    The items on show in our Display Cabinet this month have been curated by intern Alex Locke. Entitled ‘The Irish Answer’, the display concentrates on William Gladstone and Irish Home Rule, and shows not only the complexity of the issue, but the many different types of printed matter the subject generated. In this blog, Alex gives us more on one of the major political problems of the 19th Century… 


    Your heritage our story: The History of North East Wales in 100 Objects

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 26th April 2018 | 0 Comments

    Gladstone’s Library is proud to have loaned items from its collections to the North East Wales Heritage Forum to contribute to their exhibition at Wrexham Museum. From the Mold cape to the Gop cairn, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Welsh bible translations, castles, collieries and six of the ‘Seven Wonders of Wales’, North East Wales has an incredibly rich history which deserves to be celebrated, conserved and promoted.


    24th April: Genocide Day, Armenia

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 24th April 2018 | 0 Comments

    1.5 million Armenians were killed (1915 – 1923) by the Ottoman Turks in what was the first genocide of the 20th Century. This followed the Armenian massacres of 1894 - 1896 and the Armenian Holocaust at Adana in 1909.


    World Curlew Day: Books, birds, and St. Beuno

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 20th April 2018 | 0 Comments

    21st April is World Curlew Day, the first annual international event with the aim of raising awareness of the Curlew, one of the most recognisable of wading birds (numenius arquata). According to the RSPB, there are 66,000 breeding pairs in the UK, with 140,000 individual curlews wintering on our shores and estuaries each year.


    Rachel Malik on Horne’s Guide to Whitby and Dracula

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 19th April 2018 | 0 Comments

    A few of the many things I loved about my stay:

    The rook convention outside the library; window sills so wide you can organise your life on them; the giant woodpigeons; the mushroom quiche; that there is a book called The Best Books which Gladstone wrote his name in (some things seemed simpler in the late 19th Century); treacle tart; that I thought a lot, read a lot and wrote quite a lot. That I worked out on the last day my villain’s bad, bad secret. Guilty pleasure: watching both series of The Hour again in the evenings. I love Romola Garai.



    It’s bloomin’ spring!

    by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 11th April 2018 | 0 Comments

    I've recently put together a display of books from our collection to illustrate the arrival of the new season - spring! This got me thinking about the meanings of the spring season itself.


    Sir William Gladstone, 1925 - 2018

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 05th April 2018 | 0 Comments

    Here at the Library we mourn the death of Sir William Gladstone Bt, great-grandson of our founder, William Ewart Gladstone, and formerly our Chairman of Trustees. We also celebrate the long and fulfilled life of a person who contributed so much to the Library, as well as to his country and his county.



    Interview: Debbie Lewer on Art, Faith and Failure

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 16th March 2018 | 0 Comments

    At the beginning of April Gladstone’s Library welcomes Debbie Lewer from the University of Glasgow to deliver a course exploring art, faith and failure within visual art from the Middle Ages to the present day. 

    Debbie is an art historian who lectures on topics across the field, including on wider media such as photography and architecture. As we edge closer to April, we spoke to the her to find out a little more about her ideas, her work and what we can expect from 'Utterly Human: Art, Faith and Failure'... 


    From the Archives…William Gladstone, patron of the arts

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 16th March 2018 | 0 Comments

    William Ewart Gladstone, a lifelong student and scholar, is well known as a voracious reader and collector of books: Gladstone built up a remarkable personal library, reflecting the wide range of interests of a true Victorian polymath.

    However, Gladstone is perhaps less well known for collecting paintings, sculpture, fine porcelain and ivories.


    Beware the Ides of March

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 15th March 2018 | 0 Comments

    Beware the Ides of March; a saying that can often be heard around this time. But why? Why are we warned to 'beware the Ides of March' and what is the story behind it?



    Making the most of your visit to Gladstone’s Library

    by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 07th March 2018 | 0 Comments

    So, you’re visiting Gladstone's Library for the first time, fantastic! What’s the plan?

    We recommend arriving around 11am. Our on-site café and bistro Food for Thought is open to the public (10am - 5pm), and a nice hot cup of coffee is the perfect start to your day.



    Writing the Revolution

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 23rd February 2018 | 0 Comments

    In this blog, intern Alex Locke writes about our latest History Room display for the month of March. The display focuses on how our collections at Gladstone's Library – some on display for the first time – can help illustrate one of the most tumultuous events in Western history – the French Revolution. Read on to find out more about how the printed word played a part in this extraordinary event, and how its influence impacted Gladstone's time as much as our own... 


    From the Archives…Dossie Drew

    by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 07th February 2018 | 0 Comments

    Gladstone’s Library is delighted to introduce a new blog series entitled ‘From the Archives…’; a regular spotlight on some of the remarkable items we hold within our collections. The series will showcase a selection of our most weird, wonderful, and always fascinating holdings, so be sure to check back regularly for updates!


    Inspirational books by inspirational women

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 06th February 2018 | 0 Comments

    On 6th February 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed which allowed women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote. This gave 8.5 million women the vote (though it is important to note that this only represented 40% of the total population of women in the UK and it wasn’t until ten years later that women achieved full equality in voting rights).



    Sophia, a poem

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 01st February 2018 | 0 Comments

    Sophia (meaning ‘wisdom’ in Greek) was carved by sculpture and architectural stone carver Tom Waugh and has watched over the gardens at Gladstone's Library since 2010. Her four stone benches - Cariad (Love), Heddwch (Peace), Gwirionedd (Truth), and Cyfiawnder (Justice) - invite the thinker to idle and contemplate a-while.


    Free Prosecco for Mothering Sunday - FULLY BOOKED

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 01st February 2018 | 0 Comments

    We are pleased to be re-running last year’s successful Mother’s Day offer of a free glass of Prosecco or soft drink for all women joining us for Afternoon Tea on Mothering Sunday, 11th March.


    Upcoming courses at Gladstone’s Library

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 01st February 2018 | 0 Comments

    Each year we programme a range of exciting and diverse courses which can be enjoyed either as a resident, or a non-residential guest. There’s nothing like partaking in stimulating debate and discussion in the daytime and gathering for a glass of wine and social time around the fire each evening, before enjoying a tasty homecooked meal


    Wales' very own St. Valentine!

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 23rd January 2018 | 0 Comments

    St. Dwynwen is Wales’ patron saint of love and Dydd Santes Dwynwen is the Welsh equivalent of St. Valentine’s Day. Dwynwen (meaning ‘she who lives a blessed life’) was a 4th / 5th-century princess and one of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters. 


    The reader behind the book - a look at marginalia

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 18th January 2018 | 0 Comments

    Library Intern Katie Ruffley has curated this month's display which is on W.E. Gladstone's habit of marginalia, or writing in books. In this blog, Katie discusses some of the difficulties faced when trying to create a display about books – as well as the contentiousness of whether to write, or not to write, in the margins...


    Gladstone's library of forking paths

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 18th January 2018 | 0 Comments

    In this blog, library intern Carla Manfredino considers the library used by one of her favourite writers, Argentine author and librarian Jorge Luis Borges, and asks how many of those books could be found on the shelves here in Hawarden... 


    A Valentine’s Day treat that won’t break the bank - FULLY BOOKED

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 16th January 2018 | 0 Comments

    Please note that we are now fully booked.

    Looking for a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year that won’t break the bank?

    Celebrate with a loved one and Afternoon Tea for two at Gladstone’s Library on Wednesday, 14th February between 3pm and 4pm. 


    Make a Gladfest stage your own!

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 16th January 2018 | 0 Comments

    We are looking for family-friendly performers of all kinds to showcase their talents at this year’s Gladfest, 8th – 9th September.


    Could you be our next Writer in Residence?

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 04th January 2018 | 0 Comments

    Gladstone’s Library is now open for submissions for its 2019 Writers in Residence programme, from which a selection of the best contemporary writers will be chosen to reside at the Library to focus on their current projects. 


    Spring Hearth tickets onsale now!

    by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 03rd January 2018 | 0 Comments

    Pull up a chair, gather around the fireside and indulge in a weekend of stimulating and entertaining conversation at Gladstone’s Library.